Archive for September, 2009

Wednesday night tango: Paula and Mariano

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Paula Gurini & Mariano Bielak,

Paula and Mariano will be teaching/performing at Black Cat Tango in Princeton tomorrow night.

Tango is part of world’s ‘cultural heritage’ says UN

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Tango is part of world’s ‘cultural heritage’ says UN
The tango dance steps of Argentina and Uruguay are part of the world’s “intangible cultural heritage”, the United Nations has declared.

UNESCO, the United Nations cultural organisation, is holding a meeting of 400 experts in the Gulf state of Abu Dhabi to agree on a list of world arts and traditions that should be safeguarded for humanity.

Developed in working class city dancehalls in the cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, tango is a deep-rooted tradition of dance, poetry and singing that is seen worldwide as the symbol of Latin romantic passion.

Argentina and Uruguay jointly submitted the “symbolic universe” of tango for addition to UNESCO’s list of cultural treasures. It was the first of 76 submissions examined and approved by the Abu Dhabi meeting.

The BBC and AP are also carrying the story.

The Press Association version is a great deal more exaggerated, though: Unesco saves Tango for humanity, as if Unesco had any kind of power to save anything by edict.

It’s the tangueros who are saving tango for humanity – and for themselves.

The Tango Notebook has a great post on tango and passion you must read.

Don’t miss tonight’s tango YouTube – and it has to do with Princeton, too.

Newt on Honduras

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Newt on Honduras,

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. And we’ll switch gears to Honduras, this part – this neck of the woods in Latin America. What about the situation in Honduras? Is that – is that big deal or not?

N. GINGRICH: I think it’s a very big deal because, you know, as a lawyer, the Honduras Supreme Court followed the Honduran constitution. Zelaya is in fact the president of the country, was in fact trying to become a strong man in the Chavez tradition. The Honduran constitution specifically blocks that from happening and says if you try to extend your term, you automatically have to resign.

The Supreme Court voted 15 to 0, with the majority of the court coming from Zelaya’s party. The person who is appointed the interim president was the Speaker of the House from Zelaya’s party, properly announced he would not run. They’re going to have elections this fall which will be more honest than Afghanistan, more honest than Iran, more honest than Venezuela, and actually, (INAUDIBLE) has been bizarre.

VAN SUSTEREN: So why – why is the United States backing Zelaya, who is currently hiding out in the Brazilian Embassy in Honduras? Why – why – if it’s as you say?

N. GINGRICH: Because the sympathy for the left in this administration is unending, and the fact is Zelaya is the Castro, Chavez candidate to be the strong man of Honduras. The fact is in Nicaragua, Somoza’s trying to change the constitution so he can be a lifetime leader like Chavez, and you’re seeing the redictatorship of Latin America from the left, from people who are both anti-American and anti-rule of law.

How to make friends, be overthrown, sneak into Honduras, and influence people

Full Comment brings you a regular dose of international punditry at its finest. Today, Honduran President — if you can still call him that — Manuel Zelaya, continues to hide out inside the Brazilian embassy to Honduras, where he and his wife have sheltered since Sept. 21. Since being overthrown and ejected from the country by his own troops, Zelaya has been trying to win international support for his return to power. Makes sense…but he should probably scratch Israel off the list of governments to get on the blower with.

And now for a public service announcement,

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

via Instapundit, a 6’1″ woman explains How To Date A Tall Chick, with the really important part below the fold:

Is it time to confront Hugo Chavez? 15 Minutes on Latin America

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Today’s podcast at 11AM: Is it time to confront Hugo Chavez?

Jorge Castaneda thinks so:

The Venezuelan lieutenant colonel has repeatedly provided sanctuary, arms, diplomatic support, and financing to the FARC guerrillas fighting to overthrow the Colombian government. He has engaged in immense arms purchases from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, most recently including tanks, fighter planes, and a submarine. He has increasingly clamped down on dissent, the opposition, and basic freedoms in Venezuela, as well as expropriating business concerns without compensation.

By systematically supporting his allies in other Latin America countries, from Bolivia and Argentina to Honduras and El Salvador, and including Peru, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Mexico’s opposition, Chávez has polarised the entire Latin American continent in the same way that he has his own society. Moreover, he has implicated Venezuela in global conflicts half a world away, by allying himself with the Iranian regime and becoming one of its bulwarks.

In the face of all this, no one has yet attempted to stop Chávez. What’s more, Uribe himself seems tempted to continue to search for compromises. Aside from protecting Colombian business interests, he seeks to amend his Colombia’s constitution so that he can run for a third term in office – exactly what Chávez has done in Venezuela, and what his allies in Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina (indirectly), and Nicaragua have all sought.

Uribe may still back down, though he is leaving himself precious little wiggle room to decline reelection after all that his supporters have done to allow it. But he could also be searching for an accommodation with the US that might finally lead to containing Chávez.

Most Colombians would like the immensely popular Uribe to stay in office for another four years. But many abroad would not, either because his second reelection would undercut arguments against others intent on perpetuating themselves in power, or because it would complicate their relations with Colombia.

US President Barack Obama finds himself in both of these categories. He cannot criticise Chávez’s eternal presidency without hitting Uribe; and it will prove almost impossible for Obama to win congressional renewal of Plan Colombia, the drug-enforcement and counter-insurgency programme launched by Bill Clinton in 1999, let alone ratification of Colombia’s free-trade agreement with the US, if Uribe can be portrayed by American critics as a perpetual violator of human rights intent on remaining in power indefinitely.

It would not be easy for Uribe to resist a direct appeal from Obama to step down after two terms. For that reason, there might be a basis for a deal: Uribe offers not to run again if Obama begins to confront Chávez the way he should be opposed: diplomatically, politically, ideologically, and in the court of world opinion and international law. Only with active US backing can Colombia take its case to the Organisation of American States (where it would currently lose), to the United Nations (where it might win), and to friends and allies in Europe and Asia (where it would undoubtedly have the upper hand).

The case against Chávez is solid if it is properly presented – as a series of repeated violations of domestic, regional, and international commitments and covenants signed and ratified by Venezuela. Whether these violations involve shutting down TV stations, imprisoning and exiling opponents, arming guerrillas in neighbouring countries, provoking an arms race in the region, or flirting with Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme, they all can be proved and denounced.

If Colombia and Obama proceed in this fashion, their potential allies in the rest of the hemisphere might lose their fears about being left hanging out to dry. Countries like Mexico, Peru, Chile after its December election, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic all worry that if they confront Chávez, they will not only, in certain cases, lose his largesse, but also provoke him into meddling in their domestic politics. But if Obama shows that he takes the issue seriously and intends to pursue a policy of containment, these nations would probably respond favourably.

Letting matters drift towards greater confrontation is not a sustainable policy for Colombia, the US, or the rest of Latin America. Such a course would allow Venezuela to choose the next conflict, postponing a showdown until deteriorating circumstances make conflict both inevitable and more dangerous. It is now time for Obama to emulate Colombia’s business community and stop turning the other cheek.

Here’s how to start: oil:


Venezuela’s PDVSA Vows to Fight ConocoPhillips in the Courts

ACORN’s tentacles

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Matthew Vadum has been studying ACORN and its labyrinthine connections, which include Obama’s close advisor
Patrick Gaspard. Gaspard signed a letter identifying himself as a member of the SEIU State Council and the Working Families Party; As Matthew points out, the ACORN website states,

“ACORN members spearhead[ed] formation of the Working Families Party, the first community-labor party with official ballot status in New York state in more than 50 years.”

Additionally, Moe Lane shows that Gaspard continues to assist the WFP in local elections.

American Power has more on the links between ACORN and Obama that point, in Stanley Kurtz’s words, to “a persistent and shared political-ideological alliance.”

And a thirst for power.

Coldest winter in the decade, next?

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

And, how will affect my going to tango?

U.S. Northeast May Have Coldest Winter in a Decade

The U.S. Northeast may have the coldest winter in a decade because of a weak El Nino, a warming current in the Pacific Ocean, according to Matt Rogers, a forecaster at Commodity Weather Group.

“Weak El Ninos are notorious for cold and snowy weather on the Eastern seaboard,” Rogers said in a Bloomberg Television interview from Washington. “About 70 percent to 75 percent of the time a weak El Nino will deliver the goods in terms of above-normal heating demand and cold weather. It’s pretty good odds.”

If you don’t like winter, it’s not looking good,

“It could be one of the coldest winters, or the coldest, winter of the decade,” Rogers said.

Sure, some worry about commodity futures. I want to know if I can make it to tango.

You have to have your priorities straight.


Michelle Obama says “we’re taking our gloves off on Iran!”

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Oh, wait.

Senate Committee Rejects Public Option for Health Overhaul

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009


Senate Committee Rejects Public Option for Health Overhaul

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday rejected a proposal to include a new government-run insurance plan in its health-care legislation, but debate over a proposed public plan isn’t expected to end at the committee.

By a 15-8 vote, the committee rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W.Va.), that would create a public health-insurance option. Under Mr. Rockefeller’s amendment, a government-run plan would inherit Medicare’s network of doctors and hospitals and pay them based on Medicare payment rates for its first two years.

All Republicans on the panel voted against Mr. Rockefeller’s amendment, in addition to five Democrats: Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus of Montana, Bill Nelson of Florida, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Thomas Carper of Delaware.

But don’t get too excited yet. The healthcare bills, in their various incarnations, are still in the works.

Sick Hollywood defends Polanski

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

I wasn’t going to post more on the pedophile rapist, but changed my mind after watching this at Big Hollywood:

Listen to Whoopie: “Whatever Polanski was guilty of, it wasn’t rape-rape.”

Let’s review what Polanski actually did:
First, Polanski, who was 44 yrs old, gave a 13-yr old child a Quaalude and champagne. Then he got going.

What I’m going to post is not suitable for work, so it’s below the fold: